Judge Says He Will Strike Down Ohio's Ban On Recognizing Gay Marriages From Other States


Ohio could be on the brink of a major ruling in the fight over same-sex marriage.

A Cincinnati judge has indicated his plans to strike down the ban on recognizing marriage between two men or two women.   

Judge Timothy Black says he will issue that ruling within the next 10 days.

It's not gay marriage in Ohio, but it could be a big step in that direction.

Among the plaintiffs in the suit: three lesbian couples, legally married outside of Ohio, each seeking to have both parents’ names listed on the birth certificates of their children.

Under Ohio law banning same-sex marriage, that's not possible.

But the attorney for the plaintiffs said Friday the Judge indicated his plans to go even further.

"What he said is that if you're married in one of the 17 states and District of Columbia to a same-sex partner and you come to Ohio, after his ruling, Ohio will have to recognize your marriage,” said Cincinnati attorney Al Gerhardstein. “So he's striking down as unconstitutional Ohio's marriage recognition ban. And that's a big deal."

It’s important to note- Black's ruling would strike down the ban on recognition of, not the ban on, gay marriage in Ohio.

"This means that all the people who are married, and there are thousands of them, will have full equality for their marriages in Ohio," said Gerhardstein.

OSU Law Professor Marc Spindelman says there are still many "ifs," but the decision has the potential to be very significant.

"It's real movement in the direction of equal recognition and equality rights for same-sex couples and same-sex marriages under law," he said.
For unmarried same sex couples, there would be no impact, except for the groundwork this ruling could set in place:

"Next steps are clearly already in people's minds,” said Spindelman. “It's hard to imagine that the next steps won't be in the Judge's mind as this opinion is being written."
A spokesperson for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said DeWine is already planning to appeal this ruling when it comes down.

Judge Black is the same judge who ordered the state to list same-sex spouses on Ohio death certificates.

DeWine filed an appeal of that ruling in January- that appeal is still pending.